This is starting to be a really fun series! Hello inspiration.
When he came in, he blinked thick lashes that framed large eyes, pretty eyes that seemed rational and considerate as he glanced around the room. He wasn’t as broad shouldered as most, a diplomat instead of a warrior.
I hesitated in my position atop the steps. Barbarians were bred to be alike in their brutality, their simpleness, except for the very elite, a few of which I'd met when I’d served my term. I swallowed and lifted my chin slightly. I started down the steps, lifting my skirt as I walked, dignity forced into each step.
It was three steps from the bottom where he waited as still as the statue of Callus when I looked up, and caught his gaze directly, or as directly as I could with my head swathed in clouds of net. His eyes caught and held me as surely as if he'd used a small magic on me. I stumbled as my shoe caught on the hem of my dead aunt's dress. Falling forwards, I reached up and caught him around the neck, while his hands circled my waist, arresting my fall.
He smelled of Cinamarron. Time stopped as I stared at him, into those eyes that didn't belong to a Barbarian.
We stood in the Capital's plaza, voicing the same argument we always came to. The sun shone on unwashed bodies filling the air with a raw flavor I'd taken time to adapt to. It added fervor to my voice.
“Being a slave is ennobling? Perhaps to nobles, but I don’t hear many slaves arguing your point.” My voice, passionate, slurred some of the Barrabas consonants.
He smiled at me, showing his even white teeth, brighter in his tan face. “The slave plays his part in the great order as does every other creature. We are all creatures with greater or lesser levels of development, but deep down we’re simple animals. Without society there is no meaning to the individual.”
“I'd be more convinced of your sincerity if you did not occupy one of the highest levels of administration.”
He leaned close to me, closer than he'd ever come before, breaking the unspoken rules of etiquette. I could smell the Cinamarron on his bronze skin as he whispered, “Unlike you? Daughter of an Empire? Ambassador of the High City?”
I turned away, fighting down the heat that rose to my cheeks that had nothing to do with the harsh sun or our heated argument. I plucked a plum from the pile of ripe fruit heaped in a cart, rolling the purple orb in my still pale hands. The seller looked at me smiling a gapped-tooth smile.
“As you know, we have no slaves. Each house has its order, but within the order there is choice. I chose diplomacy over the ranks of the Rasha. My interest in linguistics over small magics or armaments brought me to my current position.”
My smile matched his as he studied me until he covered the fruit in my palm with his own larger and darker hand.
“You speak of magic and choice in the same breath. Your magic, your religion would call your position destiny. Is relying on fate so much better than depending on state?” His smile widened as he held up his hand, and slid the plum in my open mouth, cutting off my response with the warm and sweet fruit. He took my arm and guided me away from the stall as he threw a coin to the seller.I didn't think to resist, not with the taste of ripe plum and the smell of Cinamarron filling my senses.
More coming soon!